Not held in other editions
| Event type

800 metres Freestyle, Men

Date27 – 29 July 2021
LocationOlympic Aquatics Centre, 2-1, 2chome, Tatsumi, Koto-ku, Tatsumi-no-Mori Seaside Park, Tokyo, Japan
Participants33 from 28 countries

The 800 metre freestyle, long a staple at the World Championships, had last been contested at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, when it was raced over 880 yards. With the addition of the women’s 1,500 metre freestyle to the 2020 Olympic Program, FINA also lobbied to equalize the program and add the men’s 800, which was approved.

The favorite was the Italian distance specialist Gregorio Paltrinieri, who had won this event at the 2019 World Championships, and was the World 1,500 metre champion in 2015 and 2017. Also formidable was Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk. Romanchuk led the qualifiers with 7:41.28 just head of German Florian Wellbrock, who recorded 7:41.77, but the biggest shock was that Paltrinieri barely qualified, finishing eighth in 7:47.63, obviously resting for the final, but it almost cost him.

Paltrinieri made no such mistake in the final two days later, taking the lead on the first lap and holding it through 700 metres, followed by Wellbrock and Romanchuk for most of the race, although Wellbrock took the lead at 750 metres. American Robert Finke lingered back in fifth for most of the race, but at 750 metres he had moved into fourth and he looked to have a shot at a medal.

It was more than that. Finke shattered the field over the final 50, splitting 26.39, a last lap that was over 1½ seconds faster than the next fastest split (Australian Jack McLoughlin’s 28.00 back in fifth), and it brought Finke all the way to the top of the podium and a completely surprising gold medal. Paltrinieri held on for silver while Romanchuk took bronze.

American men’s distance swimming had been in the doldrums, as no USA male had won a gold medal in the 1,500 metres since Mike O’Brien in 1984. To prove that his 800 gold was no fluke, Finke would come back on the last day of swimming at the Tokyo Olympics and add a second gold in the 1,500 metre freestyle.

1Bobby FinkeUSA7:42.72 (3 h4)7:41.87 (1)Gold
2Gregorio PaltrinieriITA7:47.73 (4 h5)7:42.11 (2)Silver
3Mykhailo RomanchukUKR7:41.28 (1 h4)7:42.33 (3)Bronze
4Florian WellbrockGER7:41.77 (2 h4)7:42.68 (4)
5Jack McLoughlinAUS7:46.94 (3 h5)7:45.00 (5)
6Serhiy FrolovUKR7:47.67 (4 h4)7:45.11 (6)
7Felix AuböckAUT7:45.73 (1 h5)7:49.14 (7)
8Guilherme CostaBRA7:46.09 (2 h5)7:53.31 (8)
9Henrik ChristiansenNOR7:48.37 (5 h4)
=10Ahmed HafnaouiTUN7:49.14 (1 h1)
=10Victor JohanssonSWE7:49.14 (6 h4)
12Gabriele DettiITA7:49.47 (5 h5)
13Aleksandr YegorovROC7:49.97 (6 h5)
14Daniel WiffenIRL7:51.65 (1 h3)
15Alfonso MestreVEN7:52.07 (2 h3)
16Marwan El-KamashEGY7:52.76 (3 h3)
17Michael BrinegarUSA7:53.00 (7 h4)
18Zac ReidNZL7:53.06 (1 h2)
19Alexander NørgaardDEN7:53.50 (4 h3)
20Nguyễn Huy HoàngVIE7:54.16 (2 h2)
21Anton IpsenDEN7:54.98 (8 h4)
22Ákos KalmárHUN7:55.85 (3 h2)
23José Paulo LopesPOR7:56.15 (4 h2)
24Yiğit AslanTUR7:56.18 (5 h3)
25Kieran BirdGBR7:57.53 (6 h3)
26Dimitrios MarkosGRE7:58.68 (5 h2)
27Cheng LongCHN7:58.71 (6 h2)
28Jan MickaCZE7:59.04 (7 h5)
29David AubryFRA8:01.16 (8 h5)
30Ilya DruzhininROC8:01.47 (7 h3)
31Marcelo AcostaESA8:03.01 (2 h1)
32Martin BauSLO8:04.79 (3 h1)
33Vuk ČelićSRB8:04.85 (7 h2)
DNSKonstantinos EnglezakisGRE– (DNS h3)

Round One (27 July 2021 — 20:17)

15Mykhailo RomanchukUKR7:41.28Q OR
23Florian WellbrockGER7:41.77Q
37Bobby FinkeUSA7:42.72Q
42Felix AuböckAUT7:45.73Q
57Guilherme CostaBRA7:46.09Q
63Jack McLoughlinAUS7:46.94Q
72Serhiy FrolovUKR7:47.67Q
84Gregorio PaltrinieriITA7:47.73Q
94Henrik ChristiansenNOR7:48.37
=106Ahmed HafnaouiTUN7:49.14
=104Victor JohanssonSWE7:49.14
126Gabriele DettiITA7:49.47
131Aleksandr YegorovROC7:49.97
148Daniel WiffenIRL7:51.65
155Alfonso MestreVEN7:52.07
167Marwan El-KamashEGY7:52.76
178Michael BrinegarUSA7:53.00
186Zac ReidNZL7:53.06
191Alexander NørgaardDEN7:53.50
205Nguyễn Huy HoàngVIE7:54.16
211Anton IpsenDEN7:54.98
221Ákos KalmárHUN7:55.85
234José Paulo LopesPOR7:56.15
246Yiğit AslanTUR7:56.18
254Kieran BirdGBR7:57.53
263Dimitrios MarkosGRE7:58.68
277Cheng LongCHN7:58.71
288Jan MickaCZE7:59.04
295David AubryFRA8:01.16
302Ilya DruzhininROC8:01.47
313Marcelo AcostaESA8:03.01
325Martin BauSLO8:04.79
332Vuk ČelićSRB8:04.85
DNS3Konstantinos EnglezakisGRE

Heat One (20:17)

16Ahmed HafnaouiTUN7:49.140.76
23Marcelo AcostaESA8:03.010.71
35Martin BauSLO8:04.790.65

Heat Two (20:27)

16Zac ReidNZL7:53.060.66
25Nguyễn Huy HoàngVIE7:54.160.67
31Ákos KalmárHUN7:55.850.66
44José Paulo LopesPOR7:56.150.67
53Dimitrios MarkosGRE7:58.680.68
67Cheng LongCHN7:58.710.69
72Vuk ČelićSRB8:04.850.79

Heat Three (20:37)

18Daniel WiffenIRL7:51.650.65
25Alfonso MestreVEN7:52.070.75
37Marwan El-KamashEGY7:52.760.70
41Alexander NørgaardDEN7:53.500.65
56Yiğit AslanTUR7:56.180.70
64Kieran BirdGBR7:57.530.66
72Ilya DruzhininROC8:01.470.66
DNS3Konstantinos EnglezakisGRE

Heat Four (20:47)

15Mykhailo RomanchukUKR7:41.280.72Q OR
23Florian WellbrockGER7:41.770.64Q
37Bobby FinkeUSA7:42.720.76Q
42Serhiy FrolovUKR7:47.670.76Q
54Henrik ChristiansenNOR7:48.370.75
64Victor JohanssonSWE7:49.140.63
78Michael BrinegarUSA7:53.000.74
81Anton IpsenDEN7:54.980.66

Heat Five (20:57)

12Felix AuböckAUT7:45.730.75Q
27Guilherme CostaBRA7:46.090.68Q
33Jack McLoughlinAUS7:46.940.69Q
44Gregorio PaltrinieriITA7:47.730.79Q
56Gabriele DettiITA7:49.470.76
61Aleksandr YegorovROC7:49.970.71
78Jan MickaCZE7:59.040.72
85David AubryFRA8:01.160.73

Final (29 July 2021 — 10:30)

13Bobby FinkeUSA7:41.870.75
28Gregorio PaltrinieriITA7:42.110.78
34Mykhailo RomanchukUKR7:42.330.72
45Florian WellbrockGER7:42.680.69
57Jack McLoughlinAUS7:45.000.71
61Serhiy FrolovUKR7:45.110.72
76Felix AuböckAUT7:49.140.76
82Guilherme CostaBRA7:53.310.69